Behind the Veil: A Western Woman on Saudi Arabia

BY P.J. Tobia  October 24, 2012 at 6:30 PM EDT

As a major energy producer and bulwark against Iran, Saudi Arabia has been a key U.S. ally for decades. But it is also a place where half the population, the female half, are second class citizens, with virtually no rights outside their homes. In Saudi Arabia, women can’t drive. In Saudi court, their testimony carries half-as-much weight as a man’s and women will only begin to have the right to vote in 2015. Even then, they can only cast ballots in municipal elections.

NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff recently spoke with Pulitzer Prize winner Karen Elliott House about what it’s like to be a woman in a society like Saudi Arabia. House spent years living in The Kingdom while researching her new book, “On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines — and Future.” House lived and spent a great deal of time with Saudi women, experiencing their day-to-day lives and penetrating usually opaque and impenetrable society.